Two Great Dangers

Our ritual points out two major dangers avoided due to our humble and sincere behaviour, and a third that will always be present and which we will endure through strict observance of Masonic discretion.

This third danger is more than explicit in terms of keeping entrusted secrets, under penalty of being considered a perjurer and unworthy of being a Mason if we reveal them in any way or point described in our Solemn Obligation.

However, the other two – although seemingly momentary and ritualistic in nature – remain relevant in our lives due to the warning they imprint on our hearts about the use of reason and prudence in undertaking any endeavour and the value of taking decisive and unhesitating steps when the purposes are within the compass of our duties.

The door to Masonry opened thanks to those two guardians of the entrance and exit, who communicated with a regular password that was neither word nor gesture, simply sounds between the knuckles and wood.

When reported, right there we appreciate the description of our own reality: “Poor and in a state of darkness”. That was our introduction as a great exhortation to humility and valuing moral and spiritual qualities over material things.

It was enough to step in with the left foot to find ourselves in danger, which, even without seeing or hearing a warning, touch served as an alert to something really serious and which can be summed up in these reflective questions: before the desire to move forward, who are you to want to rush? Wait, where are you going? And when wanting to retreat: Why do you run away, coward?

Our operative mason ancestors used a “pointed trowel” instead of a dagger, and this was the jewel around the neck of the youngest apprentice, who acted as an Inner Guard.

In the “Charge after Initiation” read to the newly admitted brother, there is a special connection with this vestige: “…and so high has the credit of Masonry risen that even monarchs have been promoters of our art and have not believed they lowered their dignity by unhesitatingly exchanging the sceptre for the trowel, embracing our mysteries by joining our assemblies…”.

In other words, he who enjoys the highest place in the nation would not be ashamed to be the lowest in the lodge. Another lesson in humility.

IMAGE CREDIT:  the square magazine collection Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

The symbol of the Tow Cable with a slipknot not only prevents us from fleeing but also reminds us of our mortality. Regarding this symbol, there are many speculations that embrace ancient initiatory traditions, mostly related to birth and death.

However, in the First Degree, where the newly initiated is invited to “vocational work”, the tow cable reminds him of the responsibility acquired with his lodge and with his brothers, whose distance he will assume and calibrate as he becomes involved in fulfilling the duties acquired by his own conviction and by the bond it represents.

We cannot act hastily out of mere passion and petty interests; the edge of metal (worldly possessions) can cause us pain.

Our bare chest underwent two rigorous tests, namely, being received with the edge of a dagger and enduring a point of the compass when we took the Solemn Obligation, reminding us of the virtue of “temperance” in this degree.

We cannot retreat from just and noble causes having already taken the first step. We cannot evade acquired responsibilities if they are still morally accepted, nor fail in the commitment offered to our fellow men; in this way, the slipknot will slide in the face of cowardice and lack of purpose.

These two major dangers help us maintain control of our actions and adhere to the laws of divinity through the study of our Masonic art supported by belief. When we were received with prayer, they asked us: “…in times of difficulty and danger, in whom do you place your trust?…” to which we replied: “In….” Signifying that without the aid of our Creator no work can stand, and exalting the faith that should guide each of our steps.

It is noteworthy that in all Masonic tests we are not alone; the hands of the deacons always support us and give us confidence and security. The deacons are messengers and we are the message that is transmitted through a cadence and representing an established order.

They are the link between the earthly and the spiritual and receive the candidate from the hands of the Tyler (Outer Guard) once inside the temple (sacred and hermetic place) to represent that transition.

A beautiful invitation is implicit in that part of the ceremony: “to consider our creator in all circumstances, for He will always support us, and to consider His presence, is to dedicate each of our works to His name and glory.”

Article by: Osbenis Hernández Medina

Osbenis is from Venezuela, and began his Masonic life in November 2016 at the George Washington Lodge No. 100 in Caracas, affiliated with the Grand Lodge of the Republic of Venezuela, recognized by the UGLE.

He was Worshipful Master 2019-2020 , and Worshipful Master of the Buena Vista Lodge No. 116 in the city of Maracaibo, affiliated with the same grand lodge.

He is also a member of the Royal Arch of the York Rite.

 

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